The AGORA Program focuses on equipping lay people from ethnic-specific and multicultural congregations for Christian mission and ministry through its Christian Leadership Training for a Multicultural World program. This program trains lay people from ethnic specific and multicultural congregations to assume congregational leadership roles in ministries of education, congregational care, and proclamation.


Two years ago, Luther Seminary's Global Mission Institute agreed to provide interim leadership for Agora until a longer term solution could be found. 

Given productive conversations among several groups, an inter-synodical group has formed to support Agora. This exciting new partnership includes the ELCA's Southeastern and Southwestern Minnesota Synods, the South Dakota Synod, the Minneapolis Area Synod, the St. Paul Area Synod, Luther Seminary and the ELCA Churchwide office. Together, these partners will support the continuation of immigrant leadership education and the expansion of this ministry to meet growing needs. Luther Seminary will continue to provide education space, some funding and access to seminary faculty for Agora.  

Recently, it was announced that The Rev. Paul Erickson, formerly the assistant to the bishop for evangelical mission in the St. Paul Area Synod, accepted the call to become the director of Agora.  Erickson has his office on the Luther Seminary campus. We look forward to participating in the growth of this important ministry.

2014-15 Christian Leadership Training:

During the 2014-2015 school year, AGORA will offer two courses. In these ten-session courses of study, lay leaders will have the opportunity to acquire training, spiritual growth and networking that will equip them to serve in their congregations under the direction of their pastor or appointed ministry leader.

Track A: Basics of the Bible, the Gospel, and Cultures:

This course, which is based on the study of scripture, prepares lay leaders to serve in their congregations in roles such as teaching Sunday school, leading Bible studies for adults and youth, and leading afterschool and summer programs for children and youth.

Track B: Introduction to Preaching:

Students enrolled in this course will receive in-depth biblical and theological training in a classroom setting, and will practice skills in preaching to prepare them to serve in their congregations.


The fee for each participant is $100 for the entire program year, September—May. The fee may be paid in two installments, at the beginning of each session. We hope congregations will assist in paying this fee for students being trained to serve on a voluntary basis in ministries in their congregation. Some scholarship funds may be available. Childcare will not be offered.

(classes meet on Saturdays, 8:30am-12:00pm)
Location: Luther Seminary Olson Campus Center, lower level
1490 Fulham St., St. Paul MN 55108

Fall Semester

September 14, 28; October 12, 26; & November 9, 2013
5 Sessions

Spring Semester

to be set



Congregations can support the AGORA mission in a variety of ways, including:

  • Offering hospitality at a class session—greeting students, providing refreshments
  • Enrolling in one of Agora’s programs
  • Sponsoring a scholarship to support a student studying Christian
  • Leadership Training
  • Learning more about local neighborhood newcomers
  • Offering input to shape the educational programs of AGORA
  • Providing ongoing financial support

Read about AGORA's work with Bethlehem Lutheran, St. Cloud, MN.

What does "Agora" mean?

Agora is a Greek word that means “marketplace.”  In Greek, Agora is the word for the place where people gather. That might be at school or work. It might be the marketplace – where  people shop. Or, it may be church.

Whatever the place where people gather, we notice more and more in the Twin Cities and across the Midwest, the people with whom we gather are coming from diverse parts of the world.

Agora came into being to serve as a place where people from many different cultures and countries might come together to share the love of Christ, and to encourage and support congregations as they seek to be places of gathering of many cultures and peoples.

One way that Agora encourages and supports congregations is by offering training for those new Americans who feel called to leadership in their congregations.

Sudanese studentsContact information

Agora Program


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